Yesterday was my first full day in Salzburg, Austria. To tell you the truth, the Salzburg definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. When we were flying into Austria from the airport in Frankfurt, my jaw dropped because the scenery was so beautiful. There were fields and farmland and little villages distributed amongst the majestic snow capped mountains. It was everything I imagined… until we landed.
When we landed it was the usual airport scene, however once we got to our schools facility it wasn’t the typical Austria scene that I imagined. It looked a little more like this.
Don’t get me wrong or anything… it’s beautiful and I’m so happy to be in Europe, but it looked pretty similar to a street in America that I pass by all the time. I was just expecting everything too look like it came straight out of The Sound of Music, or like the first photo. Yet, I don’t think the scenery is what made today’s low so low. I’m pretty sure it was because one: I’m still really tired. I stayed awake for roughly 30 hours before falling asleep at 9:30pm last night, and I’m still a big jet lagged. Two: I miss my family so so much. If I could just call them or Skype them or somehow speak to them it would make it so much better. Unfortunately the internet in Austria is such that Skyping is impossible (it’s pretty weak for blogging too, but it’s one of my few ways to stay connected to my family, friends, and to remember this adventure). Three: everything is in German… everyone speaks German… I speak three months of iffy German and most of the time I’m so nervous that I forget most of it anyways.
When I first arrived two days ago I asked the person at the meat counter in German if she spoke English, and she said no… so I had to brokenly ask for 250 grams of ground beef. It was so embarrassing! Yesterday, I went back to the grocery store to actually buy provisions that will last until Tuesday, one of my friends pointed out a meat counter guy that spoke English. I didn’t even ask ‘sprechen Sie Deutsch?’ because I took it for granted that he spoke my language. I didn’t even consider that maybe he had as much English experience as I did German. I just asked for what I wanted in English with no attempt at German. Afterwards I felt like a complete jerk for not even trying to speak his language. On the bright side, right after I asked I realized exactly what I could have said in German. So, my goal for future grocery shopping and other outings is to speak more and more German and to become more confident in my speaking. After all, if they do speak English they’ll probably switch in order to help me out, and if they don’t they’ll probably appreciate my attempt (I hope).
Luckily after that incident the day kept getting better, as my roommate, her brother and I decided to go out for dinner. Unfortunately, Google maps decided to lie to us and gave us the wrong directions. I must note that we followed the wrong directions correctly, so getting lost wasn’t our fault. We ended up getting dinner at a different restaurant that we spotted on our way home, which was surprisingly yummy. Chili con carne in Austria?! I think yes. It was even spicy 🙂 yes, I know it’s not traditional, but I’m still trying to figure everything out, and the dish was gluten free. It was surprisingly good too. Food jealousy photo time:
Our little outing ended up being a 6km walk, but it also allowed me to see a slightly different side of Austria, which also enabled me see the part of Salzburg I live in in a different, more positive light. On a side note, I think I walked a total of 15km today. Even if I’m not able to get to the gym for a day, I don’t think I’ll need to worry about keeping fit.
Here’s some of the awesome Austrian scenery that I saw during the walk. I can’t wait to hike these mountains and to go to the Alps! I also can’t believe I’m actually here! It’s kind of unreal and hard to believe.
In the opposite direction of the mountains was a cute little field and smooth rolling hills.
On our way home, we took a detour that went through a little village. I was so excited when I saw this street. To me, it felt stereotypical European, which made me feel like I was actually here. I wasn’t just observing from an airplane or seeing it in a book. What really tied it all together was when two siblings were riding their bikes down the road singing “spider pig spider pig” in a German accent. I’m sure they didn’t know what they were saying, but it made me happy nonetheless.
The houses on the street caught my eye as well. How I adore the older houses! It was really neat walking around and reading the address signs on the walls, as they were written in an old English script. I’m really looking forward to going to the old town this weekend and seeing what it looks like over there. I hear they have the number one Bosna in that part of the city as well. I’ll let you know if it really is #1 😉
There are so many little quarks about Europe that make seemingly universal things foreign, such as street lights. Theirs turn green, then blink green, then turn yellow, then red. Once they’re red they switch to yellow before they turn red. It’s so clever! I’m also starting to appreciate the differences between my home in America and my home in Salzburg. I think I need to go through the denial homesickness stages before I can really branch out and embrace this whole experience abroad. I know it’s different and scary being so far away from home for the first time while trying to figure out where/when/how to train for nationals, finding gluten free foods (I totally overlooked the fact that all food labels are in German. Luckily once in a blue moon they have the ingredients listed in various languages, including French, British English, or both), doing schoolwork, and trying to let go of my stereotypes of Europeans and Americans and just enjoy living here for the next six weeks.
Also, this doesn’t really fit anywhere in this post, but on the flight here our path was such that we saw no sunset and no darkness, but I got to witness a beautiful sunrise over Iceland. What a way to start a day.
Here’s another random Iceland shot. I liked it too much to not show you all.
I hope you have a great day too 🙂
P.S. Later that evening we did end up watching the Sound of Music. I thought it was kind of ironic, seeing as I was missing that element just that morning.
P.P.S. If you read this far, congratulations. I hope all of the text wasn’t too overwhelming. I also thought this post would be a good response for the Word a Week Challenge of Mountain. I hope you found the photos enjoyable.